Pilbara Minerals retains “greatest exposure” to higher lithium prices: Macquarie

Wed 16 Mar 22, 4:06pm (AEST)
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Key Points

  • Pilbara Minerals is the preferred lithium play according to Macquarie analysts
  • Macquarie expects spodumene prices to peak at around US$4,000 a tonne

Pilbara Minerals (ASX: PLS) is the preferred lithium pick for analysts at Macquarie. 

“Pilbara Minerals retains the greatest exposure to the further price rises we expect to see in spodumene over the next few months, with our price peak now set at US$4,000 a tonne” said a note from Macquarie Research earlier this month.

Production growth on the horizon 

Macquarie expects Pilbara Minerals to "start seeing material growth in production volumes from FY23.”

This follows a third consecutive downgrade to the company's FY22 production guidance during February reporting season.

Pilbara Minerals expects to produce 340,000 to 380,000 dry metric tonnes (dmt) of spodumene for FY22, down from the 460-510,000 dmt guidance last August and 400-450,000 dmt guidance last December.

Lower spodumene production rates due to plant down-time events and industry-wide labour shortages has weighed. 

Pilbara Minerals spodumene production

Spodumene prices power ahead

Pilbara Minerals' half-year FY22 results observed that lithium chemicals price momentum was "still very strong, implying materially higher pricing in the second half."

Spdoumene prices
Spodumene pricing (Source: Pilbara Minerals December Half Year Results Presentation)

Pilbara Minerals expects March quarter spodumene prices to sit somewhere around the US$2,500 to US$3,000 a tonne level, more than double what was realised in the first-half of FY22.

Poised for upside

Macquarie’s medium and long-term upgrades for spodumene price forecasts drove a 14% upgrade to its Pilbara Minerals price target from $3.50 to $4.00.

This represents a 52% upside compared to Wednesday's open of $2.63.

PLS price chart
Pilbara Minerals price chart


Written By

Kerry Sun

Finance Writer & Social Media

Kerry holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Monash University. He is an avid swing trader, focused on technical set ups and breakouts. Outside of writing and trading, Kerry is a big UFC fan, loves poker and training Muay Thai. Connect via LinkedIn or email.

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